Weekly Reader – February 15, 2016

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, February 15

Learning from a Fellow Funder (Ellen Flax, GrantCraft) At least once a quarter, as well as during our semi-annual in-person board meetings, we bring in a speaker who can address an issue related to our grantmaking or who can challenge us to do our work in a more effective manner.

Tuesday, February 16

7 Things We’ve Learned About Impact Investing in 7 Years (Judith Rodin and Margot Brandenburg, Rockefeller Foundation Blog) Impact investments are punching bigger than the weight of those two words, providing a vibrant and viable option for investors looking to generate both financial return and make social or environmental impact.

Wednesday, February 17

The Role of Philanthropy and Nonprofits in Increasing US Voter Turnout (Kelly Born, Stanford Social Innovation Review) In 2016, nearly $10 billion is likely to be spent on the US presidential election by parties, candidates, and interest groups. At the same time, many of America’s funders are also actively working to improve voter turnout and civic participation. What does the social sector hope to achieve in this already crowded field? And what can its, relatively speaking, modest contributions do to make a difference?

Thursday, February 18

Rethinking the funding equation: Can general operating support become the new normal? (Jen Teunon, National Center for Family Philanthropy) With all of this momentum, why does general operating support still account for only a relative fraction of all grantmaking? I believe it is primarily because foundations want to understand and quantify their own impact. By earmarking dollars to a specific program, many foundations hope to draw a line from the dollars they give to the outcomes nonprofits achieve.

Friday, February 19

It’s Not Foundation Money but Culture and Talent That Can Change the World (Rachel Mosher-Williams, Sara Brenner, and Amy Celep, Chronicle of Philanthropy) A strong infusion of dollars may not be enough to make a difference unless foundations change their cultures.

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Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's communications and practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.